12 O'Clock Boys Movie Review
12 O'Clock Boys Movie Review Metadata
This engrossing documentary, with its unfortunate, misleading title, follows the life of a boy in his early teens, called Pug, for over three years. As is typical with most young teenagers, Pug looks up to the older boys in his community and tries hard to emulate their actions with the goal of becoming part of their clique. In Pug’s small world, the most visible and enticing club is an outlaw motorcycle gang called the 12 O’Clock Boyz, who constantly put themselves and pedestrians in danger as they openly and deliberately violate traffic laws while the public cheers on their actions, and the police watch almost helplessly.
The backdrop for the movie (and the true antagonist) is his broken family home and his lower income neighborhood in Baltimore, MD. The potential that Pug shows for a prosperous future is continually and quickly undermined by his poor decisions and lack of developmental guidance. I call the title misleading because this film is not about the 12 O’Clock Boyz. Instead, it is a very interesting look inside the growth of a young boy as he confronts odds that are not in his favor. The motorcycle gang is only one of the many challenges that he faces. Finally, I wonder how many of Pug’s actions are influenced by the filmmaker. The film maker spent so much time with Pug that he admittedly becomes a mentor to the boy. Does that intervention change the course of his actions? Would he make the decisions if a camera was not following him? These are questions that you can ask yourself as you watch this documentary.
The only shortcoming of this film is the director’s failure to tell a complete story. He explores many aspects of Pug’s life, but ends the movie short of any final conclusions. With that said, I think this is still a film worth viewing.